The Hunter Doctrine – Leave Europe to the Soviets

The Hunter Doctrine – Leave Europe to the Soviets

This week Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office announced a foreign policy vision that should be of deep concern to conservatives. In his own words, Mr. Hunter believes that America’s foreign policy should be “you go in, you kick a–, you leave.” Mr. Hunter goes so far as to refer to this as the “Hunter Doctrine.” Fortunate for us we had the Marshall Plan after WWII – If Mr. Hunter had been in charge we would have kicked Germany’s a– and then left Europe to the Soviets.
While the Mr. Hunter’s “doctrine” is certainly full of bravado, it lacks any of the characteristics that we would normally associate with a foreign policy doctrine. Most glaringly absent is a sense of what America’s strategic objectives should be. While the Monroe Doctrine sought to keep European imperial powers off America’s shores, and the Truman Doctrine sought to contain communism, the Hunter Doctrine doesn’t reach such lofty heights. Rather, Mr. Hunter suggests that our foreign policy should be “Were going to kill the people that are disrupting the world order and then leave, and you’re going to be stuck with the aftermath.” According to Hunter, this will be achieved by sending about 20,000 marines to global hotspots for a few months to kill the bad guys. It seems Hunter is advocating for the fulfillment of the Clinton/Obama view of the U.S. military as the world’s police force. Mr. Hunter decides which of the world’s bad guys are sufficiently “disruptive” to merit the death penalty, and then he sends in the marines to carry out the sentence.
To be charitable, if we sift through Mr. Hunter’s machismo we might find that his objective is to avoid the U.S. military being bogged down in prolonged nation building exercises with uncertain victory conditions. While this is a worthy objective, Mr. Hunter overshoots his target. The Hunter doctrine is a Frankenstein monster that combines some of the worst foreign policy blunders of the past 20 years. Rumsfeld like limits on force structure? Check. President Bush’s disregard for local ethnic and sectarian differences? Check. President Obama’s eagerness to quit the battlefield before sustained victory is assured? Check.
It has been well documented that Mr. Hunter’s voting record has been drifting to the left since he arrived in Washington (Club for Growth ’14 Score: 70; Heritage Action Score: 67). While this trend has disappointed conservatives, Mr. Hunter has always enjoyed a presumption that he is a leader on foreign policy. If the Hunter Doctrine is emblematic of Mr. Hunter’s foreign policy however, that presumption, like the presumption of his conservatism more generally, will increasingly be rebuttable.

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